Did the Russia Talks Matter?

Russian-American relations may be on the mend, but is it all talk and no action for Presidents Obama and Medvedev? The pair met in Russia and called a truce on a number of issues—vowing to open a joint early warning center to share data on missile launches and agreeing to each get rid of weapons-grade plutonium—but past presidents made similar deals and never made good on them, writes The New York Times. President Clinton and Boris Yeltsin agreed to build the data-sharing center in 1998, as did Clinton and Putin in 2000 and Bush and Putin in 2007, yet the center remains unbuilt. The plutonium initiative first came to light in the 1990s but hasn’t been enforced, either. Still, Obama’s top Russia adviser said the progress made by the two was groundbreaking. “They’re real things. It is not fluff,” said Michael McFaul. “I dare you to think of a summit that was so substantive. We didn’t solve everything in two days—that would be impossible. But I think we came a long way in terms of developing both a relationship that advances our national interest with the government and also laying out a philosophy about foreign policy."